In the Indian state of Maharashtra, a tīrth yātra (pilgrimage) to visit eight ancient temples to Gaṇeśa (Aśṭa Vināyak) is mentioned in the puranas and considered very sacred. These eight temples, each with exquisitely beautiful Gaṇeśa murtīs, are in tiny villages, scattered around the mountainous terrain between Mumbai and Pune. After much procrastination, last February we were called on this short, beautiful and spiritually uplifting tīrth yātrā. [Read more...]
During the 11 days of Ganapati, the murthy is brought into our homes and the divine spirit invited to reside and bless us all. During these days, we treat Ganapati as a valued guest and shower him with the best of flowers, fruits and delicious foods. Friends and relatives visit in awe at the divine presence. At festivals end, we bid farewell and the material form is immersed into a water body so as not to soil it. Bidding farewell to our divine visitor is called visarjan. In villages, Ganapati is dunked in the home or community well, or nearby lake or river. In Mumbai, the murthys are carried with pomp and celebration, with much dancing to one of many beaches and immersed in the waters.
The GSB Wadala Muth Ganapati holds some of my fondest memories of sarvajanik (public) Ganapati. At 8 ft, it is not the largest of the Ganapatis, but certainly one of the most artistically excuted and ‘constant.’ Even though the artisans craft a new murthy from clay each year, this murthy has not changed one bit over the last three decades. The size is limited by the doorway to the hall where this Ganapati sits. The GSB Seva Mandal Ganapati contrarily, is built on and sits on a trolley which is covered under a huge outdoor tent. On visarjan day, the stage is dismantled and the trolley with the Ganapati is pulled out. The Wadala Ganapati is wheeled/carried out of the hall, placed on a trailer and taken to Shivaji Park for immersion.
The GSB Seva Mandal is one of the largest Sarvajanik (public) Ganapati celebrations in Mumbai. The murthy is 14 ft tall and all pujas ( devotional services) are performed in Sanskrit following traditions prescribed in ancient scriptures. See pics from our 2009 visit here.
The Best of Mumbai: Matunga Flower Sellers during Ganapati Festival. Looking forward to more. [Read more...]
Ganapati is a fabulous time for our extended family. At the end of five days of festivities, Ganapati Bappa is taken in a procession to Chowpatty for consigning to the waters. Behind the truck bearing the Ganapati, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts, meera, friends and family, all walk or dance along. Enjoy the unique ishtyle of Mumbai street dancing!
See blog post on Meera’s Tolay-Bhaar, where Meera gets weighed in bananas, at the GSB Seva Mandal.
See my different Ganapati posts
- Ganapati & Gauri Puja 2010
- Ganesh Chaturthi – Preparations from the Day Before
- Ganesh Chaturthi 2009
- Flower Sellers at Dadar
- Ganesh Chaturthi 2008
- Ganesh Chaturthi 2007
- Ganapati Bappa 2005
- Saraswati Lakshmi & Ganapati
- Dadar Flower Market during Ganapati
Na tatra suryo bhaati na chandra tarakam
nema vidhyuto bhanti kutoyamagnihi |
tameva bhantam anubhati sarvam
tasya bhasa sarvam idam vibhati ||
Sun cannot illumine him, nor the moon, nor the stars
Lightning cannot, much less this little flame I wave |
Verily, when he shines everything is illuminated
By his light alone all of us shine ||
~ Kathopanishad II v 15
After a few days respite in Goa and Kumta, we returned home for the Ganesh Chaturthi Utsav (festival). Over the next few days, our extended family home transformed into a festive temple. Resident cooks arrived and made traditional Konkani snacks (chivda, mando, shankar paLLan, masala shaenga, chuklee, etc). Siblings and cousins descended on our home. Professional flower stringers decorated our main hall in elaborate arrangements of plump marigolds. Humongous pots and pans, giant oil lamps and other puja accompaniments were retrieved from storage and polished to a high gleam. [Read more...]
On this Beautiful Maha Shivratri,
May the Grace of Shiva
Lead you further
Onto the Path of Spiritual Revelation!
On Ganesh Chaturthi
Wishing you all
A Blessed Ganesha’s Grace!
Notes are excerpted from my book, Prarthana: A Book of Hindu Psalms;
© Arun Shanbhag 2007
Ganesha Stotram – Hymn to Ganesha
The visage of Gaṇeśa (or Gaṇapati) is easily recognizable as the elephant-headed God of Knowledge and Wisdom. Gaṇeśa is very popular in all parts of India, and amongst all sects: Vaiśnavās, Śaivās, Śaktās, Buddhists and Jainās. He is considered the controller of, and thus remover of, all obstacles (Vighnéśwar), thus he is remembered at the beginning of all religious services. The likeness of Gaṇeśa in the form of artwork, sculptures or murtī adorn many homes and offices. Tiny Gaṇeśa figurines also grace dashboard of cars, and Gaṇeśa icons in a variety of poses is a popular gift for family and friends (from Prarthana).